Late winter early spring isn’t really the time to go dry fly fishing (our preferred method for brownies), so we spend some time helping the local fishing club improve the habitat of our local streams. Most of our work entails “reverse engineering” the straightening of the streams which took place about 50 years ago…

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… the wood (mostly Common or Black Alder, Alnus glutinosa) used for the revetment not only deflects the current, but also provides protection and is an extremely valuable source of food, for smaller fish. The branches and stems used in the construction are fixed in position by cutting large “staples” or “cramps” out of branches and ramming them into the substructure. We only use natural local materials to fix the structure(s), no metal stakes or wire or even nails are used. Within a relativels short time ( 3 or 4 years) there has been so much silt trapped on the downstream side of the revetment that young Alder trees can be planted to further stabilise the newly developing river bank.

 

Our work however is not just limited to repairing eroding and eroded banks, we also try and improve sections by introducing “structures” of stone to accelerate the speed of the water and expose gravel which can be used as spawning redds.

 

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Mixed substrate for spawning redds and larger stones to cause disturbance

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Lots of disturbance, good for oxygenation during the summer months

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A large sea trout spawning redd which we “top up” with gravel every few years

 

Although we have been restoring our local trout stream for something like 20 or so years now, we still supplement the natural breeding of trout and sea trout by stocking with fish reared in own micro hatchery

Electro-Fishing for breeding stock

Electro-Fishing for breeding stock

 

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A nice buck sea trout – we need his DNA

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Will she, wont she …

 

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Come on girl …

 

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There she goes …

 

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Thank you ma’am …

 

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Men are good at something after all …

 

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A Natural Cocktail …

 

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Our Micro-Hatchery

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Ready to go …

We have also started experimenting with a “floating” nano-hatchery which we got a couple of years ago from Lars Mikaelsen in Denmark. Its just fixed in the stream and you put the fertilised eggs into it.

 

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We were a bit sceptical of Lars’s nano-hatchery to start with but after using it for a couple of seasons we have found out that it really works and reduces the work-load immensely. Lars has developed a Nano-Hatchery-GII, I think we’ll be getting one of those in time for the next breeding season.

 

Please let us know if you do any work similar to ours, it would be fantastic to be able to “swop notes” and ideas.

Your feedback is very welcome.

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